Spandex isn’t budging when it comes to activewear’s hold on the market and now business models within the segment are evolving to keep pace.
Active Collective completes its two-day run Friday after expanding to new space at the Anaheim Convention Center from its previous hotel venue in Huntington Beach, Calif. The new venue colocates the sister Swim Collective and brings even greater diversity to what the term activewear now comes to define.
“Any time a trend goes through a cycle, [the market says] ‘It’s going to end. It’s going to end.’ [Activewear’s] become its own staple. It’s a lot more stable. We’re not waiting for a trend to end. I see the expansion aspect of it and we, outside of a few brands, we’re only touching on the female side of the business,” said Roy Turner, Emerald Expositions senior vice president and show director, as he indicated the potential in growing men’s at future shows along with related offerings such as beach.
Continuation of trends around lacing, cutouts and colorblocking is still there, as some companies pushed design with puffy sleeve bombers or spandex jumpsuits.
Veronica Perez, a sales executive at Figur Activ, reported brisk sales of a sports bra with crisscross side detailing and mesh, along with moto-inspired leggings in addition to a black-and-white geometric print legging and sports bra.
Australia-based Boody perhaps served as the lone contrarian at the show with its eco-friendly line of basics and now activewear in black or white. The company, with some 700 points of sale in the U.S., launched its Boody Active line at the show with a simple offering of leggings, racer-back tanks, sports bras and socks all of a viscose material made from bamboo.
“We aim for simplicity and versatility for the whole line so you can wear them again and again,” said Boody brand manager Erin Orbach.
“We’re a very interesting brand because we’re in organic grocers and holistic pharmacies so we’re sort of a wellness sustainable brand and this is our move into the fitness category,” said David Stern, who heads up the company’s North America business.
The company is projecting $20 million in revenue this year from a previous $12 million.
The activewear and swimwear shows combined draw more than 1,200 buyers with Active Collective featuring more than 200 exhibitors, a mix of pure fitness lines along with an increasing mix of casual brands and related categories in the vein of bags and socks.
“We see a lot more of the lifestyle knit lines coming in,” said Active Collective sales manager Devon Damelio.
To Damelio’s point, the amount of floor space dedicated to the broadly described lifestyle brands, she said, once consisted of only Good Hyouman and Joah Brown. That’s since grown, now commanding a full aisle with brands such as Sundry, Groceries Apparel and Z Supply.
Joah Brown recently launched its Movement line, fusing function with fashion for herringbone leggings and sports bras that’s meant to be paired with its existing casual line.
“We’ve always been the collection and that line that transitions from studio to street that some people would wear and cover yourself up with, but now we’re making a true movement line so it goes with all of our clothes,” said Joah Brown, cofounder and director of sales Brian Vaccarino.
The company, like others, benefits from continued interest among gyms and boutique fitness studios that are looking to diversify and expand their product offerings to customers.
“A lot of the studios they’re changing the way they’re marketing their collections and clothing to their buyers because they’re seeing it now as a way to bring in people to get their memberships as opposed to just relying on their memberships to buy, so they’re trying to make their studios more like a store,” Vaccarino said.
Z Supply chief operating officer Heidi Muther reported steady traffic Thursday with new accounts opened and meetings with existing buyers. The basics line brought some new styles to the show, including camo-designed shortalls and T-shirts and dresses with crisscross detailing on the front that gleaned plenty of attention.
Groceries Apparel, a men’s and women’s basics line, made its debut at the show after hearing good things from other brands. Thursday didn’t necessarily bring a hefty amount of order writing, but plenty of exposure for the line that touts organic fabrics and nontoxic dyes.
“We’ve always been on that lifestyle-active borderline,” said Groceries co-owner and chief of sales Matt Boelk, who was showing the company’s new vegetable dye line.